« Home | Why are German Shepherds used as police dogs? » | What is "new car smell"? » | /!\ SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT /!\ » | Why can't you take the tag off your mattress? » | What's the origin of the word "picnic"? » | Why do we have toenails and fingernails? » | Is nicotine really as addictive as heroin? » | How do icebreaker ships cut through the ice withou... » | What's the difference between 'C' and 'CE' on calc... » | Why do girls almost always have better handwriting... » 

Sunday, September 28, 2008 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

What are the origins of tarot?

Tarot's origins are perhaps as misunderstood as the mystical symbols on the cards themselves. The promotional images and text on some of these divination decks claim ancient Egyptian origins or gypsy ancestry. But most serious sources say the roots of these symbolic cards can be traced to traditional playing cards.
The predecessors of the playing cards we use today first migrated to Europe from Islamic countries around the 14th century. The suits used on these early cards were coins, cups, swords, and sticks. These suits are still used in the tarot deck but were changed to hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades by French cardmakers in the 15th century. The earliest deck of tarot cards was a hand-painted set created around 1440 for the Duke of Milan. They were used for a game similar to bridge and to create amusing poetry.

It wasn't until the 1700s that tarot cards became strongly connected to fortune telling or the occult. The writings of Antoine Court de Gebelin in 1781 were hugely influential on the image of the tarot deck. An amateur scholar, Gebelin suggested that the pictures on the tarot deck were related to occult Egyptian hieroglyphics. While the Rosetta Stone later proved him wrong, the idea stuck, and other occult writers and tarot-card artists expanded on Gebelin's Egyptian interpretation.

Tarot divination gained in popularity during the 19th century, probably spurred on by a growing interest in all types of spiritualism. The Waite-Smith tarot deck, created in 1909, is often considered the "standard" deck, although the symbols are more a product of the late Victorian age than the Italian Renaissance (much less ancient Egypt). These days, you can find a tarot deck in any style or theme conceivable. We'll leave the mystical interpretations up to you.

Add to: Oneview Add to: Folkd Add to: Yigg Add to: Linkarena Add to: Digg Add to: Del.icio.us Add to: Reddit Add to: Simpy Add to: StumbleUpon Add to: Slashdot Add to: Netscape Add to: Furl Add to: Yahoo Add to: Spurl Add to: Google Add to: Blinklist Add to: Blogmarks Add to: Technorati Add to: Newsvine Add to: Blinkbits Add to: Ma.Gnolia

Share on Facebook Read the whole Blog

Receive post updates by Email